Revealed ahead of the Ferrari World Finals is the sixth and latest model of the private racing series, the Ferrari 488 Challenge. It’s also the first turbocharged and most powerful model ever to participate in the race, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary next year.
Powering the 488 Challenge is the same 3.9-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine that’s found in the standard road-going version. It’s capable of producing 661 hp and 760 Nm of torque, although the Challenge version features unique engine mapping and shorter gear ratios for optimum racing performance. Torque management is also tweaked for more ideal upshifts during hard accelerations.
Managing all that powertrain hoo-ha is a revised lightning quick F1 dual clutch transmission, now featuring a new set of racing shift strategy. This allows the 488 to accelerate from standstill to maximum engine revolutions in fourth gear, all before hitting the 6.0 second mark. Take some time to digest that – we’re still trying. In all, the engine and transmission are both lighter than the stock version.
Ferrari’s patented Side Slip Control makes its debut here, and works with a multitude of softwares and hardwares to improve turn-in, cornering and acceleration out of corners while ensuring top levels of traction. Three additional manettino dials (built to each side of the steering wheel) independently govern braking, traction and the electronic differential.
In its optimum setup, the 488 Challenge accelerates 11.6 percent better out of a corner of a reference band in Monza. Aerodynamics also play an important role here. Co-developed with Ferrari Styling Centre, the 488 Challenge gets a reworked front radiator that improves air flow and reduces drag. The new styling also results in additional vents at the bottom of the bumper, fore of the wheel. Together with a new bonnet, huge rear wing and integrated flaps, total aerodynamic efficiency is up by 9 percent over the preceding 458 Challenge EVO.
As a refresher, the standard Ferrari 488 GTB is currently on sale in Malaysia for a base price of RM1.07 million (before duties and options).